The meeting was called to order by the Chair, Ms. Angela Lonardo, MUNFA Vice-President. Dr. Anna Leslie (SWGC Executive representative) coordinated participation from SWGC via the teleconference hook-up.
The Chair proposed an agenda consisting of one item of business, the notice of motion and background document Information Bulletin 1998/99:18.
(G99:001) MOVED (T. Nemec/K. Hestekin) that the agenda be accepted.MOTION CARRIED
(G99:002) MOVED (J. Bear/W. Schrank) that MUNFA seek to establish a MUNFA defined benefit pension plan, jointly and equally controlled by the Association and the University.
Dr. John Bear (MUNFA Past President) spoke to the motion and background document, and responded to questions. He first noted that the motion and document were presented pursuant to discussion and motions in previous General Meetings of MUNFA. It was explained that adoption of the motion, as such, would not change pension arrangements for MUNFA members, but would provide endorsement for the MUNFA Executive to pursue the changes indicated in the motion. If achieved, new pension arrangements would be presented to a General Meeting or Meetings. Dr. Bear indicated that the background document reflected advice from the MUNFA Pensions Committee, CAUT, legal advisors, and colleagues knowledgeable about pension planning and finance. In reviewing the background document, it was explained that while a primary objective of change was the use of fund surplus to improve pension benefits, and particular interest had been expressed in some protection of pension benefits from inflation, no specific pension improvements could be promised or prioritized at this stage.
Ms. Lonardo indicated that the floor was open for questions from the MUNFA membership.
Questions and discussion clarified a number of procedural and technical points concerning the proposal for change.
It was asked why the Executive had changed its recommendation on establishing a pension plan, in that previously it recommended a MUNFA pension plan and not a plan equally administered by MUNFA and the administration. In reply, it was explained that the Executive had arrived at its current position on pension plan governance after careful consideration and research into the possibility of a separate plan for MUNFA members.
It was asked whether the proposed arrangement would require a legislative change to the MUN Pension Act. Bear explained that it appeared change was possible by agreement between MUNFA and the University - the MUN Pensions Act permits the Board of Regents to exempt individuals from the MUN Pension Plan. By way of exammple, about 10 years ago, the majority of clinical faculty in the Faculty of Medicine moved out of the MUN Pension Plan into alternative pension arrangements.
It was asked what the financial implications were, for those contributing to the proposed pension arrangement. It was explained that these would be the same as for continuing in the MUN Plan, except for the potential for improvements in benefits arising from the use of surplus funds for this purpose.
It was asked whether there would be increased administrative costs associated with offering the proposed plan to retirees. It was explained that aside from one-off costs of determining the preferences of retirees individually, there would be no unusual costs associated with this.
In reply to a query it was explained that this proposal had not been presented to the Board of Regents.
It was noted by J. Lewis(Physics and Physical Oceanography) that the background documentation in IB 1998/99:18 satisfactorily provided the information requested in motion G:98:010.
In response to general comments, the protections provided to pension plan members by thePension Benefits Act were re-emphasized.
In response to queries regarding the mechanics of transferring monies from one pension plan to another, it was explained that the relevant amounts would be calculated by a professional actuary and would be the sum of the values of the pension entitlements of those persons transferring; these are standard actuarial calculations. The transfer amount would not be negotiated. The transfer would a neutral division of the MUN Plan, and would not affect the pension assets of those remaining in the MUN Plan. A proportionate amount of fund surplus would also be transferred.
In response to queries about the shared governance of pension arrangements envisioned by the motion, and the implications of increased costs to the University, it was explained that under the proposed arrangement, pension changes would require agreement between the Association and the University. Given the current solvency of the MUN Pension Plan, the proposed change is feasible and would not present a cost to the University.
In response to further questions, it was re-iterated that the motion is direction to the Executive to pursue the matter further, and that any formal proposal for change would be presented to the membership.
It was explained that the Executive arrived at its current position on pension plan governance after careful consideration and research into the issue of a separate plan for MUNFA members.
A vote was taken on G99:002.MOTION CARRIED
(G99:003) MOVED (G. Paterno/P. Gardner) that the minutes of the Special General Meeting reflect a count of the votes for and against G99:002.MOTION CARRIED
In Favour: 57 Against: 3
(G99:004) MOVED (W. Schrank/G. Paterno) that the Special General Meeting adjourn.MOTION CARRIED
Dr. Noel Roy
Approved by Membership April 12, 1999.